Monday, 6 August 2012

What is recovery?

At different points in my journey ‘recovery’ has meant something different. At my worst, recovery to me meant being able to sleep for more than an hour at a time. To go a day without a panic attack. To feel alive and not like a shell of a person. To eat a meal without seeing it as poison. Being able to deal with pain without cutting my body or taking to another’s bed. To not feel trapped by invisible walls...

When I was agoraphobic, recovery meant being able to go to a local shop and buy a pint of milk. When I was recovered enough to go to a local shop, recovery meant being able to go to a supermarket.
When I dared to dream beyond this, recovery meant being able to hold down a job, socialise, or dare I think, start a family..?

Seven years into my recovery, I have achieved all of the above. I am no longer a shell, but a person who loves life, who embraces all that life has to offer. I get up every morning to a happy marriage. I have a beautiful son that lights up my world. I hold down a full time career, a business and a part-time role also. But am I recovered?
Yes I use gloves to put petrol in my car.
I use my sleeve to go through doors. I hand gel every time I touch something someone else may have touched. I hold my breath when I walk past a bin and fear taking my son to school, as in my eyes those lovable class mates are germ ridden snot rockets waiting to infect...

In the eyes of the world I am still ‘odd’. But do their eyes matter? Really? If using my sleeve to open a door means I can conquer what is behind it. If having my husband do the school run means I can be a brilliant, chilled out mum that does other things with my son, if using gloves in a petrol station means I can drive hundreds of miles on my own to meetings and presentations without feeling dirty... Their eyes do not matter.

YES I could go through a door without a sleeve. YES I could fill up without gloves. YES I could take my son to school. BUT as a wise man reiterated to me yesterday ONLY if the benefit from doing so outweight the fear/difficulty. And surely it is only for me to judge that?

Do I long for a day that isn’t a fight? Yes. Do I wish I could be free from all the little fears that try and screw up my every day? Of course. Do they make me any less of a person? Absolutely bloody not!
I’m proud of where I am, happy with what I’ve got, and embrace the next stages on my journey of recovery... Because that’s what recovery is to me: a journey, not a destination.

Charlotte Fantellii

Excerpt from Mentally Healthy blog

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